Agricultural Research Service Microbiologist Kim Cook says dairy farmers can fight Johne's disease, a disease causing losses of up to $200,000 per year in a herd of a thousand dairy cows, by using stainless steel water troughs and adding chlorine to the water. Cook found high concentrations of bacteria causing the disease on troughs made of concrete, plastic, stainless steel and galvanized steel within three days of putting the bacteria in the water and the bacteria survived for more than 149 days. However, the bacteria survived less on the stainless steel.
Once chlorine was added to the water weekly, three tablespoons of chlorine per 100 gallons of water, Cook found less than 1% of the bacteria remained on stainless steel troughs by the end of the third week, while 20% and 34% remained on plastic and concrete troughs respectively. Through her study, Cook suggests using stainless steel troughs with chlorine in water should be a recommended practice in any Johne's control plan.